Naadam begins today, sports competitions and celebrations to be held

Naadam, the tournament of manly sports
Wrestling, horse riding and
archery will be on display in Mongolia's capital as the national Naadam celebration begins
today, July 11, and runs through July 13.  

While competitions will be
held throughout the country, the best athletes will participate in the
national Naadam in Ulaanbaatar. 

The Ulaanbaatar Naadam organizing
committee recently published figures indicating $500,000 will be spent
during the 2007 festivities. 

Horse racing, which has drawn
some international criticism for allowing children to compete, will
continue with the tradition of young competitors this year. However,
children will be required to wear protective safety gear while racing. 

Additionally, some 512 wrestlers
will compete, including 100 who hold state titles. The champion will
be decided following nine rounds. The wrestling competition is always
well attended. 

The Naadam was originally a
religious festival and eventually evolved into a commemoration of the
1921 revolution when Mongolia declared its independence. It is believed
the Naadam has been celebrated in various forms for over 800 years.

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